Pea Soup with Birds and Bugs

Yesterday afternoon, I had just settled down in a newly cat-hair-cleaned window seat to (bravely) slog into The Subterraneans, when the fog rolled in. Not the usual wispy Chitown lakefront fog, but dense, opaque, rolling cottonballs that blotted out the Loop from my apartment. Knowing the same dense opacity awaited me in my latest Kerouac tome, I took this last-minute chance for some escapist fun and elevatored up to the roof to watch the city play peek-a-boo through the clouds.

That’s when I saw the Birds, with a capital B. A big flock of little birds, playing in the soupy updrafts between East Tower and the IBM building. Flying around and around in mad circles, swooping up to the top of IBM, down below our roofdeck, getting this close to slamming into each other or IBM’s windows, then pulling away at the last second. A total skyscraper-top naturefest totally hidden by the fog from the streets below.

I wasn’t the only onlooker. A man brought his elementary-aged son up to see, too. The father figured out the little birds were chasing a swarm of littler insects. (Hopefully mosquitos, keep ‘em off my balcony, thanks much, birds).

And it was so: an almost imperceptible haze of bugs, surrounded by a maddened flock of birds, surrounded by a queer pea-soup fog. A flash of John Muir in the afternoon, up on top of my personal skyscraper Sierra.

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